Recycling old recycling bins

Plastic packaging being sorted at a materials recovery facility

Most of us are familiar with the materials accepted by our municipal curbside recycling programs, items like paper, cardboard, steel and aluminum cans, and certain plastic packaging But did you ever wonder what happens to those materials that are a bit trickier to recycle like  plastic containers contaminated with oil?

Pnewko Brothers in Vaughan, Ontario, has established a niche market for collecting materials that are less desirable or difficult to collect in municipal curbside recycling programs.  Plastic oil bottles, jugs and pails collected at Halton Region’s Household Hazardous Waste Depot are recycled by Pnewko.  Each bottle, job and pail they collect has to be disassembled to ensure that no contaminates are entering the recycling process.  The oily plastic is used to make new plastic products–products that require the plastic to be more rubbery and flexible, including impact posts, curbs and landscape tiles.

Some of the plastic pails collected from Halton’s Household Hazardous Waste Depot, ready for recycling

Did you know that old broken Blue Boxes and apartment building-sized Blue Bin are also recyclable?  But not in the Blue Box — they’re too big for our regular recycling facility to process.  Blue Boxes are shredded by Pnewko Brothers into plastic chips that are  used in the manufacturing of new plastic products like Halton’s Blue Boxes.  Apartment building-size Blue Bins are also completely disassembled and the components are recovered to make new products.  Halton’s new 360 litre (95 gallon) Blue Bins for apartments and schools are manufactured in Canada using some plastic recovered by Pnewko Brothers.

Pnewko Brothers operate on a full-circle processing system: 99% of all products that enter their facility are recovered and recycled.

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Chipped plastics will be made into new Blue Boxes

Remember, if you ever have any questions whether a plastic packaging is accepted in Halton’s Blue Box program, use our Put Waste In Its Place tool!

About joycewychan

I'm Joyce Chan, the Waste Management Program Coordinator for Halton Region where I am involved with project management. I am an avid skier and by using the Blue Box and GreenCart we can all help keep winter white.
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2 Responses to Recycling old recycling bins

  1. crunchymum says:

    That’s great news that blue recycling boxes can be recycled! I had been wondering about that as someone told me they cannot be recycled.

    We recently freecycled some blue bins through the Burlington Freecycle Yahoo group. We had picked up some new bigger boxes and ended up with too many blue bins (we have a family of 5, so need bigger recycle bins). But I did wonder what I would do if any of our blue bins broke and became unusable. Your blog says blue bins are recyclable but doesn’t specify HOW to recycle them. What is the process if someone has a blue box that is unusable and needs recycling?

  2. joycewychan says:

    Hi cruchmum,

    If you have a Blue Box that is unusable and needs to be recycled, please bring it to the Halton Waste Management Site, 5400 Regional Road 25, Milton. The Site is open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Joyce Chan, Waste Management Program Coordinator, Halton Region

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